Xenophobia in Africa

By Abdul Abiru, Africa News Network correspondent

Xenophobia means fear of foreigners and it is an infection that will kill Africa. It is against the spirit of Pan-Africanism and is causing the death of many in South Africa. It even forced South Africa to leave the Southern African Development Committee (SADC) and this will cripple the agency, severely.

This story came about because it was the crisis experienced by my assigned committee, New Partnership for African Development. A man was killed by xenophobic South Africans. It was a staged performance but it reflected the horrible truth of the situation: many have died, many will die and Africa will never be fully integrated if this infection spreading across Africa isn’t cured.

In my committee, it was argued that diplomacy is the answer to this problem and I agree. This is because if we take up arms against xenophobic countries, it will only fuel the hatred they have for other Africans. However, if we talk to them and try to reach a peaceful understanding the attacks will reduce and eventually stop.

Equally, I believe the youth need to be educated. They need to be made aware that emigration is not bad but it can actually prove to be beneficial to a country. Also I believe that adults and older people are responsible for xenophobic attacks and will in turn teach this to their children. However, if the youth are taught from a young age that migration and foreigners are not bad, this will reduce xenophobia.

Finally, I believe policies limiting migration into a country should be put in place because I believe that it will have a therapeutic effect on xenophobic Africans because it will create the effect that the government is on their side and are trying to keep them out.

As we can see though xenophobia is present, just like malaria, it can be cured. So I urge all Africans to work together to cure this infection we call xenophobia and revive the spirit of Pan-Africanism and promote integration.      

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